The Ugandan ICT journey: Why we still have a lot to do

Recently, I had a random intellectual conversation with some big brained fellows about how far our nation has gone on the scale of application of ICT to develop. You and I already know the outcome of this conversation. Yes, Uganda is so far down the scale and it is still at a very saddening level. We are in 2017 but we still have 1990 mentalities when it comes to anything tech safe for the few that are a step ahead always.


An ambitious entrepreneurial tech genius designed an app to simplify how schools would run and in fact keep school records organized and safe. The app is called school plus. It is designed in a way that we shall never have to look through chunks of dusty box files and books of over 10 years to just find one result of a student when the need comes up. It simplifies the reporting process of the students’ performance by generating auto reports after exam results are entered. It has many applicable functions to even the most basic primary school in Uganda.

However, the kicker that left me astonished was when I took off a day to spread this “gospel” to one school director in a pretty prestigious primary school in eastern Uganda. The lad was so opposed to such an idea to the point of even getting religious over it. He thinks this will have his students registered with numbers that link to the devil. I was saddened! These are the guys at the most basic level of education in the country and yet they do not welcome the new world to these young minds that would, in fact, grow up with a much more adaptive culture to this world where the only constant is tech change.


In Uganda, we have university students who hand in coursework hand written. And the lecturers do not seem to mind it either. One of the biggest universities in the nation still makes students make queues to register for exams and admission, and yet it also has a computer science faculty. 70% of our local government offices still use one computer per parish to do all the work that requires typing and print. Job applicants still think a certificate in Ms. Office is a very big achievement even when they cannot apply it in the actual working environment they are required of. And other issues we are still facing but we shouldn’t face at this point in time relative to other developing nations that we should be ahead of.

These are structural setbacks to the progress of the ICT revolution to the country and the region as a whole. But it is not all dark sides and drawbacks; there are so many positives and progresses to take note of. The last decade has seen a massive wave of tech oriented youths that have a keen interest in applying tech in all scenarios of life. We have seen so many entrepreneurial minds crop up and design many life changing applications and projects using tech.

People especially the youth have learned to use different algorithms and designs to build up platforms for developing the livelihoods of the society and themselves. The internet has become a basic need, regardless of the big service providers failing to provide affordable services to the general low-income population, but we shall get over that very soon
as the market grows fairer and other providers come in.

Recently a forum organized by the Ministry of ICT Frank Tumwebaze aimed at engaging ICT players across the spectrum on how to enrich the policy for better regulation, data management, infrastructure, protection of start-ups and privacy and maybe grow the tech space is having us move to a better place from where we are. The ICT Association of Uganda too, is making efforts to try and make the scene a smooth one for everyone to get accustomed to the whole idea of ICT

I am on for the advancement of tech in the country; I want to wake up someday and
not have to fill a bunch of forms to get a passport or any important document from a
government office. A system where my national id is valid to sign up for government
projects on the web.

The status of ICT in Uganda is on a progressing trend, the only issue is, the trend has a low coefficient of progress. But as a dynamic generation, this should be one of our core targets in a move to future development of our nation as time catches up with us.


Otherwise, I hope you didn’t have to read this from an internet café with 5.8kbps
speeds. Cheers